Graphic Novelists at TCAF: Cole Pauls

Today’s featured graphic novelist is award-winning Cole Pauls whose quirky graphic novel Pizza Punks (Conundrum Press) is a punk-rock celebration of pizza that explores just how far an extremely dedicated punk might go to attain the cheesiest of pies. The graphic novel collects Pizza Punks 1-4 plus a new issue, exclusive to this collection. Below, Cole tells us about how his book evolved from a collection of comic strips, what he learned from his old art, and what he loves about graphic novels. 


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All Lit Up: Can you tell us about your most recent book?Cole PaulsPizza Punks is a collection of comic strips I drew for a local newspaper here in Vancouver BC called DUNK. It was published by Lucky’s Comics and I drew the comic on and off for about eight years. For the first time ever, all Pizza Punks strips are housed under one roof in this collection! I even drew 22 new pages of comics exclusive to the collection.

Click here to find Pizza Punks at the Conundrum Press booth at TCAF. 

ALU: What do you love about the graphic novel form?CP: I love sequential illustration storytelling! Building worlds and stories through multiple drawings. It’s an art form I adore and I feel pretty lucky to have an audience that wants to read my stories!ALU: How do you approach a project/process?CP: For Pizza Punks, I tried doing something different with each issue. I stretched what a newspaper strip could be by making etchings, letterpress, lino prints, three-panel strips, eight-panel strips, ten-page comics. I would try to cram in as much Vancouver DIY scene easter eggs as possible while trying to make it about pizza. A lot of the comics in the collection is student work from when I was at Emily Carr so I really cut my teeth drawing these strips.ALU: What are some of your influences/inspirations?CP: Calvin and Hobbes was a huge influence on me as a kid. As well as alternative artists like Marc Bell and Owen Plummer. Nog a Dod was a huge influence on me as a teen.ALU: Did you learn anything unexpected from your recent book?CP: I learned to enjoy my old art. Looking back at my old art school comics, I am impressed with how experimental I was with it. But I will say stylistically, my art has become more polished and some strips feel unfinished to my standards today, but I tried showing off my new skills drawing the new strips in the book and I think the last story in the collection really elevates the collection!

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Cole Pauls is a Tahltan comic artist, illustrator and printmaker hailing from Haines Junction (Yukon Territory) with a BFA in Illustration from Emily Carr University. Residing in Vancouver, Pauls focuses on his two comic series, the first being Pizza Punks: a self contained comic strip about punks eating pizza, the other being Dakwäkãda Warriors. In 2017, Pauls won Broken Pencil Magazine’s Best Comic and Best Zine of the Year Award for Dakwäkãda Warriors II. In 2020, Dakwäkãda Warriors won Best Work in an Indigenous Language from the Indigenous Voices Awards and was nominated for the Doug Wright Award categories, The Egghead & The Nipper.

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Pizza Punks